Height 60-120cm (2-4ft)
Planting distance 15cm (6in)
Flowers mid summer
Ordinary or poor garden
Open sunny site
Corncockle has a delicate appearance that belies its hardy constitution as a tough cornfield weed. Two varieties have been developed from the now uncommon weed Agrostemma githago — ‘Milas’ and ‘Milas Cerise’.
Tolerating poor soil, they both make excellent cottage garden plants, with their large lilac-pinkon tall slender stems. The leaves are long and narrow so it is best to grow corncockles en masse among other annuals and biennials. They are good for cutting and poisonous in all their parts.
Popular varieties ‘Milas’ has delicate pink flowers deepening in colour towards the edge. The flowers are 5cm (2in) or more wide. The plants reach 90-120cm (3-4ft) high. ‘Milas Cerise’ is a striking cherry-red strain of ‘Milas’, reaching 60-90cm (2-3ft) high.
Sow the seeds in their flowering position in spring or autumn in ordinary or even poor soil. Thin to 15cm (6in) apart when the seedlings are strong enough. Give them an open sunny site. In the summer dead-head to prevent less vigorous self-sown seedlings growing. Don’t disturb roots.
Pests and diseases